Türkiye’s natural gas output increased by 112.55% last year, according to the country’s energy watchdog, as the country launched production from a vast reserve off its Black Sea coast that will help the energy-dependent country meet its needs in the years to come.

A major portion of the 807.28 million cubic meters of gas produced throughout 2023 stemmed from the Sakarya field off the northwestern Zonguldak province, the Energy Market Regulatory Authority’s (EPDK) said in its annual natural gas report.

Türkiye started pumping gas from the field into the national grid through a pipeline linked to an onshore processing facility in September 2023.

The reserve is believed to contain 710 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas. The field was discovered gradually since August 2020.

The EPDK said eight companies that hold wholesale licenses in Türkiye were responsible for the production and distribution of natural gas.

These include State-run Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO), Arar Petrol, Park Place Energy Limited, Thrace Basin Natural Gas Corporation Turkey, Petrogas, Atli Makina, Marsa Turkey B.V. and Transatlantic Petroleum.

TPAO, Thrace Basin, and Park Place companies were responsible for the production and distribution of the vast majority of the Black Sea gas.

Prior to the discovery, Türkiye’s natural gas production saw annual declines.

In 2019, output was recorded at 473.87 million cubic meters. That dropped to 441.27 million cubic meters in 2020, before falling further to 394.44 million cubic meters in 2021 and to 379.81 million cubic meters in 2022.

The largest amount of natural gas available for purchase was 337.8 million cubic meters in the Zonguldak province, where Black Sea gas was generated by companies holding wholesale gas licenses.

The neighboring province of Tekirdağ followed with 243.32 million cubic meters, nearby Kırklareli with 108.7 million cubic meters, Düzce with 55.95 million cubic meters, and Istanbul with 55.90 million cubic meters.

Out of the 10 provinces that were supplied with Black Sea gas, Hatay, whose infrastructure was damaged during last year’s devastating earthquakes, received the least, with a mere 4,000 cubic meters.

The production regions’ wellhead compressed natural gas license holders, distribution firms, importer companies, wholesale corporations, and commercial and industrial facilities were all given access to the gas generated last year.

The Sakarya gas field, which covers an area of approximately 10,000 square kilometers, has a production area of 2,200 square kilometers.

Work continues in the field where 25% of its resources have been exploited and produced.

Alparslan Bayraktar, the minister of energy and natural resources, earlier this month said the output from the Black Sea reserve has reached 5.1 million cubic meters (mcm) per day, enough to meet the needs of 2 million homes

Bayraktar is optimistic that new discoveries in various locations at the field will yield more reserves. He said he anticipates more discoveries will be announced soon following field evaluations and drillings at the Göktepe-1 and Göktepe-2 wells in the Sakarya field.

Türkiye is almost entirely dependent on imports to cover its energy needs, which left it vulnerable to rising costs that surged following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Over the years, it ramped up its hydrocarbon explorations in the Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean to curb external dependence.

The Sakarya gas field will meet approximately 30% of the nation’s annual gas need once the production reaches total capacity. Türkiye’s annual gas consumption exceeds 50 billion cubic meters.

The Black Sea output is aimed to be lifted first to 10 mcm before reaching 40 mcm in the final phase, enough to supply up to 15 million households.

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